The Pizza Underground. A Macaulay Culkin fronted Velvet Underground cover band with songs transformed into pizza lovin’ tunes.
Come to Richmond, please? Lets share a couple cheese slices in a taxi and check out Christmas lights.
Had a bunch of these from a work event a while back. They all looked great but lacked in flavor. It boils down to making the impression that you have a quality product when you don’t want to spend money on quality ingredients. Smelly, wet mushrooms. Big, lifeless pepperoni. Dry crust. Just boring.
Sette is now 23rd and Main Taproom.
It’s more of a flatbread thing but with braised lamb, olive, feta and some other goodies, it tastes great. Go for happy hour and it’s only $4/$5.50 (veggie friendly option available).
Some of these are ridiculous. A few are pretty cool. In an exercise in problem solving, a student at Pratt Institute sketched 100 ways to serve pizza. I think the pizza shots should be rearranged. Lick the breadcrumbs, shoot the sauce, eat a piece of mozzarella. All in all, some good fun.
On September 7th, we, along with the knowledgeable folks at Carytown Bicycle Co. will be hosting the fifth Pizza Crawl aptly titled “Number of the Feast.” This will be in conjunction with the Bicycle Film Festival which is now enjoying three days of fun instead of a lonely Sunday full of movies.
The Bicycle Film Festival, hereby referred to as BFF, will kick off with a party at Bunny Hop Bike Shop on Friday night. Don’t show up to that old basement across the street from Ipanema because no one will be there. Bunny Hop moved to Oregon Hill and to the rejoice of everyone, something was finally done with that huge building on the corner of Laurel and Albemarle. Our little pizza crawl will be held the next day at 4pm. Make sure you come early to register because we’re jackin’ up the prices. $10 gets you a ton of pizza as we’ll be hitting up two P.Crawl virgins on this tour, along with OG’s Tarrants and 8 1/2. Fret not oh lovers of graphic tees, we are getting new shirts this year! You can finally retire that ratty Gary the gorilla on a Lefty shirt from way back when we did the 2nd pizza crawl. Woo! Those will be $20, includes pizza partyage.
Your eyes shant be deceiving you. That is the art that will be on the shirt, printed on beautiful college rule fabric and famous Bic Blue ink.
Returning from last years crawl is Pizza Tonight! and some parking lot party action behind the CBC shop. This is where the men are separated from the baby faces as the unprepared have probably wimped out by now thanks to stomach cramps and poor fitness. Grab a few slices from Pizza Tonights wood fired, mobile brick oven, sling some of the PBR out of your friends backpack and talk about your recent bike upgrades, or what you should have upgraded to if it weren’t for that speeding ticket you got last month.
The BFF continues with its main event(s) on Sunday at the majestic Byrd Theatre. Fifteen bucks gets you access to all the short films and stories starting at 3pm and stretching into the night.
My most recent trip to New York City was pure business. Four days of work, the graveyard shift if you will, and just enough time during the day to stop off at one slice place in Manhattan that I haven’t been to in a year or two. Artichoke.
It’s four bucks and worth every dollar. Big enough to satisfy and very, very different from the majority of street slices you’ll venture across in Manhattan. This is gourmet stuff. Fresh, tangy sauce, a proper dispersement of mozzarella, fresh basil and a crust that is crisp, flakey and charred on the bottom just enough to flash your tongue a bit of the flavor from the oven floor. This stuff is a treat for me and I made this my only pizza stop in Manhattan during my week-long stay. Oh yeah, did I mention 32oz Budweisers, to go? Have a seat on the bench outside and enjoy some people watching on 14th street. Artichoke rules.
So the real reason I was in New York was to work on a TV show that I was asked to PA for. I can’t go in to any details, but during one of the shoots we were on location at a much cherished pizza place in the Bronx, right in the heart of an industrial district that employs thousands of New Yorkers. These men and women work through the night seven days a week in a pretty desolate, almost depressing area that I could probably not hold myself to work in. It’s dark, it’s damp and the hours are grueling. We were there filming at 2 in the morning and most of these people were just arriving. I met one guy who had just arrived with an 18-wheeler full of produce from California. He had one partner with which he switched off driving duties over the 2 1/2 days it took them to make the trip.
What do these people do for food when their lunch break is anywhere from 3 and 6 in the morning? There’s one place open in the area and it happens to serve up pizza, subs and donuts. Due to the nature of the job, I’m forbidden from revealing really any information on the location(s), but let me tell you. It’s barren out here. Warehouses line the streets. This pizza place is literally the only place that is lit up in your line of sight. A bright white light from the sign almost blinds you as you pull up to it, and workers are rolling out pies at 3am. Predator is playing on the two big screens inside as if it were a late night pizza party.
The crew was able to enjoy “lunch” here and while they do serve up pizza, their specialty is the broccoli rabe and sausage hero.
I opted for this because, well, I’ve never seen this on a menu anywhere before. Sure, this place has pizza. I had some of their grandma style squared slices. It’s the stuff of high school cafeterias. The broccoli rabe and sausage was fucking phenomenal. Broccoli rabe is a little like broccoli but much more leafy and pungent. It lacks the bushy head of traditional broccoli and is much easier to eat without boiling it to death. The sausage here is thick, mild and a little smokey, all mixed in with some garlic cloves, parmesan and olive oil on a toasty roll. Fuck yes, son.
After four long nights of work and a gigantic nap I was finally ready to see some friends and relax a bit. My old friend from Richmond, Liz was turning 29 and I was invited to her boyfriend’s backyard griller chiller. Luckily for me they were grilling up some homemade pizzas.
It looks small, but this type of backyard in the middle of Brooklyn is very hard to come by. The grill? Just a regular fancy shmancy propane grill. The pizzas? They came out great.
There were several pizzas to eat but this one had the best toppings configuration and a great example of a grill-produced crust. The gracious host got a few balls of dough from a local pizzeria, stretched them out with some corn flour and threw them on the grill first. Barren. Cook the mother fuckers for a minute or two so the dough takes shape. Lid open! Let it char a tiny bit and then start throwing on your shit. Close the lid and let the toppings cook up and the crust continue to form. It took a few attempts but he finally got some great looking pies.
I’ve had pizza on a traditional grill before but these were by far the best. After a few more familiar Richmond faces arrived we were all knee deep in funny conversation, story time and some legit pizzas. Liz had a cheap-wine grin by the end of the night and I got a killer Brooklyn send-off once again.
I didn’t manage to hit up all the usual spots I wanted to this time around and I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with my friends but whether you plan for it or not, the pizza will always be there.
PS: This trip wouldn’t have been nearly as fun and comfortable without the help of my friend Laura, who happens to do kick ass work for Saveur. They did a solid expose on the Naples pizza scene in issue 156 and she tipped me off to Don Antonio by Starita in Manhattan. Go eat there, it looks legit.
Step 1 – Get a laptop or tablet and go here – http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com. Play any of the episodes. Step 2 - Take the leftover slices you have lying around your fridge from last night’s after-party and throw ‘em in the toaster oven. Step 3 – Fry a couple of eggs. Top your slices and enjoy your Sunday. Don’t forget to root for the USMNT in the Gold Cup Final at 3:30pm EST.
A few weeks back I jumped in a 12 passenger van with my band and best friends and took a 3,600 mile road trip through most of the Southeast and as far west as Texas. Any time I’m traveling, the quest for pizza is on. But when you’re trying to get to venues on time, visiting cities where you don’t know anyone, and the general consensus in the area is that there is no good pizza – well you don’t stop for a whole lot of pizza. Towards the tail end of the trip we landed in St. Augustine. It is the nations oldest European established settlement and the architecture in the downtown area says it all. Statues of conquistadors, cobblestone streets and pastel buildings lined the waterfront and gave me flashbacks of my recent trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. With plenty of time to kill before the show, a local tipped us off to Pizza Time.
Pizza Time is a NY Style spot hiding on pedestrian only side street in the touristy downtown area. They were serving up your regular NY style slices as well as thicker sicilian style squares. I sprung for both slices and a Peroni. Classic cheese and a margherita square. The cheese was legit. Better than a handful of slices I’ve gotten in the mid-atlantic, but nothing outrageously good. Nice balance of everything and good flavor without having to dump all kinds of parmesan, herbs, or spices all over it. Solid crust and good bones! The sicilian slice had loads of flavor. Big chunks of tomato, loads of garlic and basil. This almost seemed like a deep dish with the amount of goodness piled on top. Everything felt really fresh and although the portions on these slices were pretty massive, I happily annihilated both. If you’re on vacation, give it a whirl. The sites are great, you can walk everywhere, and the food alone was worth the trip.
This article recently cropped up on Gawker and not only did I find it interesting but I’m also a fan of this guys writing style.
“The Pizza Belt is the final word on regional variations in pizza quality in the United States. No further blog posts or discussions regarding the topic will be allowed from now on. Pizza-related opinions from people born and raised outside of the Pizza Belt are particularly unwelcome and will be dismissed with prejudice.”
He has won me over already. All bow to Max Read. But no, seriously. Is this true? Eh, probably, more or less. Go to any by-the-slice place here in Richmond and you’ll end up with a sub par slice, comparatively. I mean, I can find enjoyment out of any sloppy, greasy, cheese-sliding slice, but I would never send a New Yorker to Valentino’s or Mary Angela’s or god forbid, Belmont. Lets face it. The dollar slice places that inhabit almost every corner of Manhattan serve up better slices than Buon Giorno and Belmont Pizzeria and the execution is a slam dunk in your face. I can’t speak for D.C. but I’ve been to a couple of those Jumbo Slice joints and the pizza, aside from being a lesson in quantity over quality, are generally a tasteless mess. The pizza belt doesn’t stretch as far as Boston, but I’ve had some of the best slices of my drunken life in Boston and I can’t imagine Boston being just as poorly received in terms of quality slices as D.C.
One of these days I’d like to explore the underbelly of New Jersey’s pizza scene. I hear good things about the hole in the wall, neighborhood joints there. Same with New Haven. But as far a this “belt” is concerned, it’s mostly spot on.
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